Our brief moment of silence was shattered by the thump from upstairs alerting us to his rousing. He had probably fallen out of bed, but it could conceivably be that he was again beating holes in the plasterboard walls. Then came the rough rattle of the door handle. He always tried to escape the room, even after all of these months without success.

I unbolted and crept inside, knowing that my doing so would make him scurry into the opposite corner of the room. He cowered there, refusing to look at me, until the whiff of the food I carried switched on his eyes like headlights, and he pounced forward towards the polystyrene plate. He snorted, and flung the plate across the room, scattering sloppy beans across the already filthy floor.

“You’re trying to poison me!” He squealed.

Before I could reply he scampered to the window and peered outside. With shaking hands clutching at the grubby curtain it was a wonder it hadn’t yet fallen down and joined the ever building layer of grime beneath our feet.

“They’re coming, you know. Very soon.” He said. He always became more lucid when he talked about ‘them’. Eerily so. He softly turned his head and looked me dead in the eye. A heartbeat passed between us where he looked almost… normal. I could see a smile begin to creep from the corner of his mouth, before erupting into a grotesque jester’s cackle, his head jerking violently back and forth.

“Bar the windows, barricade the doors! They’re coming! They’re coming!” He shouted, skipping around the room and kicking up litter. I backed away towards the door. This behaviour was becoming disturbingly frequent and it made me sad to see him in such a state, but there was nothing I could do. I bolted the door with the cacophony of his chants ringing in my ears. They’re coming, they’re coming, they’re coming, they’re coming.

 They’re coming.

 Then, they came.


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